ASAE deepens reach in Asia-Pacific through education, awards


A new Certified Association Executive (CAE) programme and continually improved content at its annual Association Leadership Forum Asia Pacific conferences are among the investments the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) is making in this region to further its reach to associations based here.

Speaking to TTGmice yesterday on the sidelines of Association Leadership Forum Asia Pacific, which kicked off on Tuesday at Grand Hyatt Singapore, ASAE president and CEO John Graham said: “What we are doing now in Asia-Pacific is part of a long-term vision that started five years ago when we did a study to determine which markets outside of the US would be the most receptive to our products and services.

Graham: ASAE is investing in Asia Pacific as it believes the region holds alot of potential

“We found that Asia-Pacific holds the most potential. Perhaps this is due to the way the region is developing in the associations space. There are real opportunities for ASAE to become more grounded here.”

With the completion of the study, ASAE debuted the ASAE Great Ideas in Association Management Conference in Hong Kong in 2015 – the association’s first education conference conducted outside of the US.

Graham noted that ASAE’s conferences in Asia-Pacific “have changed along the way” to better suit the needs of association executives in the region.

“Our Association Leadership Forum Asia Pacific this year is a lot more interactive and offers many opportunities for our attendees to share what they do and to learn from one another. The format is similar to the one we take in North America.”

While attendance at ASAE’s conferences in Asia-Pacific has not grown significantly since 2015, Greta Kotler, chief development & credentialing officer, said the “calibre of attendees is now much higher”.

“We are seeing more experienced association representatives and leaders at our conferences here,” she said.

Graham shared that many Asian cities are keen on hosting future ASAE education conferences, which are regarded as opportunities to showcase their destination for association meetings, and to upgrade the professionalism of local association executives. ASAE has yet to issue an official tender for the 2019 edition, but Bangkok, Singapore and Yokohama are among the informal contenders.

ASAE is also looking to pilot a CAE programme in Australia next year, before rolling it out to the rest of Asia-Pacific.

While ASAE has been offering its certificate course on association management to Singapore-based association executives through the Singapore Business Federation since 2014, Graham said the move to pilot the “higher-level” CAE certification in Australia was motivated by the fact that Australia was more similar to the US in terms of the level of association development and desire for professionalism.

However, Kotler added that a meeting later this week with the Singapore Business Federation was scheduled to discuss the possibility of offering the CAE certification in Singapore too.

“Graduates of our certificate course (in Singapore) have been asking what’s next for them. The CAE certification is the next step for the profession,” she said.

ASAE is also keen to amplify the legacies left behind by Asian associations through its annual Power of A Awards. The Awards recognises associations that are able to leverage their unique resources to solve problems, advance industry/professional performance, kickstart innovation and improve world conditions.

Award winners have traditionally been North American associations, but ASAE hopes to globalise it by including nominees and winners from Asia-Pacific.

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